Brazil Vol. 1: FERNANDO DE NORONHA

When it’s not possible to travel at the moment, I’ll take the opportunity and travel back in memories. Brazil.. It was Christmas season thus end of last year and I will never forget when my concept space co-worker Stephi and I stood in our kitchen and discussed future travel plans. My boyfriend and I were thinking of traveling again to Sri Lanka, where both can pursue their interests which is surfing for my partner and sourcing traditional fabrics and items for me. But then Stephi, who was planning a trip to Brazil said: “But why are you not coming with us to Brazil?” Brazil?! The word resonated immediately in me. Brazil?! My boyfriend, generally open for everything, reacted: “Why not?!” People often ask me how I decide which travel destinations I am going to conquer next and in this case (and every decision has its’ own story) it was the conversation with Stephi and her idea and input of going to Brazil. We ended up traveling separately due to different timing issues but updated us regularly in our travel plan decisions. Brazil is huge. During the Christmas holidays Philipp and I both flipped through the newly ordered Lonely Planet and we both independently decided that we have to go there: “Located in the Atlantic, 525 km from Recife and 350 km from Natal, Noronha’s natural beauty holds its own against any tropical locale in this world. With crystal clear waters, rich marine life – including the highest known concentration of resident dolphins in the world – and spectacular tropical landscapes, it’s in a Brazilian class all of its own. The country’s beach bible, Guia Quatro Rodas Praias, awards five stars to just five beaches in the whole country – and three are right here. It’s the perfect place to get away from the crowds and do very little at all. Not that there’s a shortage of activities: hikes along deserted beaches, snorkeling with turtles and sailing cruises await those visitors who manage to get up off their towels.”

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So here we are. On an island that is not even 10 km long and with two thirds covered by a restricted national park area. Only between 270 and 400 plane seats are available per day, thus tourism does not overwhelm the island (I personally don’t like masses of tourists and try to avoid them as much as possible when planning my travel trips). With this guest restriction it’s advisable to reserve flight ticket and accommodation well ahead for December, January, February and July and August. We organized everything ourselves, booked our flight tickets via KLM and the local airline company AZUL and our accommodation, a little apartment with spectacular view on the island’s most iconic rock “Morro do Picco”, via booking.com.

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Paradise, often, comes at a premium: due to the cost of transporting goods from the mainland, prices are quite surreal and rooms cost about double what you’d pay on the mainland. Apart from that you have to pay two different special charges. The first is the fees for visiting the Parque Nacional Marino de Fernando de Noronha (you are almost certain to enter the national park while here) and the second is on arrival at the airport you pay the state government environmental preservation tax which depends on the quantity of days spent on the island. But keep in mind: Fernando de Noronha is absolutely well worth every single Reais.

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We spent five days in paradise and came to the conclusion that four would have been perfectly fine as well in case you don’t have so much time. We started our days with an early morning run (me) and a surf session (Philipp), followed by a rich homemade breakfast with the freshest fruits from the local supermarket. Then we hopped on our legendary means of transport, an old and rusty buggy (you can rent in two, three places in the village), and conquered a new area and beach of the island or went hiking. Our favorite beaches were Praia do Sancho (I have never ever seen such a beautiful beach with such an adventurous track and access through ladders in rocks you have to climb) and Praia da Cacimba do Padre with neighboring Praia do Bode. Praia de Conceicao was located just in front of our apartment where we used to go in the afternoon for bigger waves and some more “life” on the beach with a nice bar and awesome life music. In the evening we liked to make a stroll through the village before choosing one of the little charming restaurants for dinner.

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Fernando de Noronha’s locals and the government extremely take care of a no-plastic policy and intensively take care of the environment. Everywhere you can see signs that encourage you to change your behavior (reduce, reuse, recycle, save nature) and raise awareness such as: “did you know that every year 25 million tons of garbage leak into the ocean? If that continues, in 2050 there will be more plastic at the sea than fish. With the selective waste collection, we can reduce the garbage and increase recycling”. There is even a huge engagement center, Noronha Plastico Zero, with the mission to create educational and impact actions that strengthen the idea that it is possible to stimulate you to rethink your habits, regenerating the way we take care of our consumption, reusing and resignifying the way we return to nature everything we produce.

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The whole island, together with these environment preservations and the national park taking care of flora and fauna and the richness of animals living there, makes you extremely connect with nature. I experienced such an intense union the last time during my hiking trek in the Himalaya. Traveling always makes something with you. And Fernando made me again aware that we are all connected…

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Read soon where our Brazil trip took us next…

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